In reading about microbiome products, you’ve probably run across lots of “biotics”: probiotics, prebiotics, postbiotics. But often, the differences between these are not explained and it can all get very confusing. The most fundamental thing to remember is that all “biotics” are about trying to support and grow beneficial or ‘good’ bacteria. That’s true for “biotics” for the skin microbiome, as well as “biotics” for the gut microbiome.
As a science-based skincare company, we’d like to share our perspective on the skin microbiome. There are three types of “biotic” products currently available or being researched:
- Probiotics - Think of probiotics as good bacteria you’re adding to your skin microbiome. They are living microorganisms, similar to the phages in Ellis Day’s Wild ResilienceTM Active Phage Serum, but they are bacteria, not phages, fungi, or other microbes that naturally reside in your skin microbiome. Adding topical probiotics should, in theory, add more good bacteria to your skin. But they don’t get rid of the bad bacteria. One word of caution: some topical cosmetic products containing ‘probiotics’ do not contain the living microorganisms, but rather pieces of dead probiotic bacteria. Based on data, it is unclear if non-living bacteria helps your skin microbiome.
- Prebiotics - Prebiotics encourage the growth of good bacteria, but they are not the good bacteria themselves. In other words, prebiotics are not living microorganisms, but rather ‘fertilizer’ or food to encourage good bacteria to grow. The tough part is that prebiotics are not very specific, so it’s not clear that prebiotics in any specific product feed ONLY the good bacteria ...they might also feed the bad bacteria - yikes!
- Postbiotics - The newest “biotic” on the skincare scene are postbiotics. They are the byproducts of bacteria, or fragments of dead bacterial cells. Sounds like “the trash,” if you will, but there is research going on to better understand how these elements of our skin microbiome might be beneficial. And there aren’t any commercial postbiotic products yet available to try. So, the jury is still out on how beneficial postbiotics might be. Stay tuned!
At Ellis Day Skin Science, we create products that balance the microbiome. But unlike any of the biotics, we use phages as a key ingredient because they actually target and kill bad bacteria. To have a balanced microbiome, you need to deal with the bad bacteria, which only phages can eradicate. Ellis Day Wild ResilienceTM is the first and only natural, living phage product that is shelf-stable at room temperature, has clinical data to support its ability to eradicate the bad bacteria, and enables the good bacteria to flourish.
As you explore what products in the market are right for you, we’d love to hear your thoughts and insights. And if you have any questions, feel free to write us at hello@ellisdayskinscience.